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Contractually Yours…

Parenting often comes down to reaching agreements with your offspring in order for lessons to be learnt, set and accepted patterns of behavior to be established and also for those invisible lines to be drawn that help kids know crossing which ones will make the parents go medieval on them.

Image courtesy Henry Hustava@Unsplash
When TO was a baby I really, really liked him. He was adorable, always had a smile on his face, wasn’t a fussy baby…he just wouldn’t sleep much but he was not a pain. And he ate pretty much whatever I held up to his mouth.

Image courtesy Kyle Nieber@Unsplash

Somethings he didn’t like from the beginning like ripe papaya, anything with too much crunch or things which left an aftertaste he was iffy about; but this kid ate his fruits and veggies just fine!

Image courtesy Vince Lee@Unsplash

Fast forward a few years and this kid goes around spouting nonsense about being allergic to nuts AND fruit!
No clue where he picked it up from but trust me when I say that the only allergic person in this house is me in regard to excuses this child makes when faced with something he thinks he won’t like.

Yesterday after one of those Eff-It moments when parents decide on the ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ kind of scenario; a historic fruit- consumption contract was drawn up which includes not one but THREE fruits! My mother’s heart was about to burst forth with joy.



Naturally, I had to make it worth his while. And no, I don’t mind using lures when it serves my purpose and gets him to eat and live healthier.


That’s how I got Red to eat more veggies too. I’d wait for the cricket matches to come on and serve him meals that had all the stuff he claimed he never ate and before you know it Mr.Zombie-In-Front-Of-The-Telly had eaten the entire lot of things “he never ate” and liked it too.

So kids, the lesson here is this…next time you want mom to buy the load of tripe about being “allergic” to something, be prepared to go into anaphylactic shock to really drive the point home.

Over and out!

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2020

The year started on a fun enough note. Had plenty of adored people around. There was music. There was dancing. There were hyper kids. Loads of alcohol flowing as well. And lights flashing…the whole shebang!

And then we crashed, bleary-eyed, into bed only to be woken up at what seemed like an ungodly hour but it was actually well past the crack of dawn. Bang into the new year I realized what a smartass a 10 year old can be.

I have…sigh…had a rather favorite coffee mug that’d been a part of my everyday routine for more than 6 years. It was nothing fancy. Just a bright yellow mug with Homer Simpson’s face on it, full of his usual goofiness. I’d bought it during my first ‘mom’s weekend away’ trip with the bestie and it was intended for Red. I don’t remember how it became mine, but it did. So the mug broke fairly early in the morning although after I’d bonded with it for what turned out to be the last time and I was more than a “bit miffed”. He-who-shall-not-be-named had butterfingers as usual and had broken the mug just near his feet while not having any slippers on (as usual). Shards were everywhere and Homer was irreparably broken.

After having realized there were no more storms to come, TO saw me sweeping up the broken pieces and looking sad while doing so. In expressing solidarity with his “favorite mother” he stood in attention, clicked his heels together, saluted and hummed a mournful tune. I have never been more caught between looking stern and controlling my laughter at the same time. Laughter won out. Kids..whaddya gonna do!

Speaking of…guess what the kid who kept whining during most of the train journey to my hometown say when I asked him to shush for what must have been the n(nth)th time? ” Oh! so uptight!!” I’m fairly sure I goggled at him while he cackled and ran away like the sprite that he is.

I’m not setting too many goals this year barring one- minimalism. Wherever possible. Wherever…and of course targets will be set to travel more, read more, do new things and make more good memories.

May 2020 find you all in more states of contentment and as little tumult as possible.

Cheers!

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image courtesy: gadgetfreeks.com

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Saturday Facepalms

My kid rates fairly middling to high on the maintenance scale. As a family am sure we all do. In each others’s eyes if nothing elseImage result for keep calm+family

We rate above average on the drama scale too. And not the kind that rates the good drama and invites curtain calls and huge bouquets of roses. This is the soap opera kind which has varying quantities of MELOdrama, pathos, angst and ire. And that’s all in the first few sentences uttered by TO. I am perpetually the evil witch and boy am I glad! It maybe in the genes but when I see a kid who acts up, my palms itch to connect with their backsides and bring out all the shades in the spectrum of red.

One thing that TO has been pulling on us is threatening to run away each time he gets UBER exasperated with us. The first time he pulled that nonsense I admit, I was taken aback but then knowing his love for peanut butter and the telly; I knew he’d be back. And he was.

Fastforward a couple of years and this morning suddenly the “I’m leaving” bomb gets dropped on our head. Again. Red was no help at all being the good cop.

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Thankfully I was fully caffeinated and had happy things to do for the rest of the weekend so I didn’t sweat it. I asked TO to make out a list of places he thought he could go and stay in and keep the list a bit long in case some people were unavailable to have him crash at their place long-term or use their wi-fi free of cost- whichever is the bigger transgression.

Not surprisingly, he quickly changed his tune. He started negotiating with me and started tell me that for the low, low cost of screen time, I could have the pleasure of his company at home forever. Clearly this mom found that too high a price to pay so I insisted that he keep the list ready since he was going to get the digital media taken away sooner or later and he’d again get upset and want to leave.

I even suggested putting the list up on his door, in big, bold font and colors so it would be easier for him to choose where he wanted to go and live. Weird how soon the threat fizzled out soon after that. If this were a cartoon, TO would be like a balloon, whizzing around the room, rapidly deflating.

Evil Mom-1. Whiny Kid-0

Nuff said!

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Turbulent Toosdays

We’ve been having slightly wonky weather here. It’s rainy and overcast one minute but suddenly bright rays of sunshine will burst through the clouds and blind us all.

TO has been slightly under the weather. His usual scheduled spell of cough-cold-almost-guaranteed throat infection during the monsoons is slightly delayed this year but it’s finally made an appearance.

He’s been home since Monday and my good cop’s taken a hike and left the bad cop on indefinite duty.

This morning after meeting our family physician, I told TO that he’s not really sick so he should get cracking with his chores and not spend the whole day whining about screentime.

The love of my life, flesh of my flesh did his chores…with aplomb! He made his bed by folding the bedcover in halves like a door. And he proclaimed it was a coffin. For ME.

I told Red that I’d need a lot of alcohol to get through today. Or maybe a Valium. It’s all the same when your kid prepares a coffin for you with glee and adoration.

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August Recap

The month of August is usually quite festive in this household. Both Red and TO have birthdays. Incidentally both had milestone birthdays this year- their 40th and 10th. Needless to say, the 10th birthday brouhaha was everything that it should be. Between 2 cakes spanning the loves of his life aka cricket and reptilian monsters which Hollywood makes tons of money out of; this child was left delirious with joy.

We also thought we should start a phase where the gifts would come in only from family and To start associating birthdays more with the fun factor, memories to be made rather than gifts to be counted. Check back with me next year to see how far we’ve come  down this road.

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The munchkins who keep the good times rolling!

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The usual suspects Part-1

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Trio from the usual suspects

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Birthday cake #1

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Birthday cake#2 that paid homage to Godzilla: King of Monsters

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The bouncy birthday boy in the background.

By contrast the 40-year old baby’s day was fairly low-key because Red had already done a stag trip to Oz at the start of the year and wasn’t in the mood to enter his naughty 40s with a bang (‘cuse the pun) in the presence of his in-laws and his father all at once! Hopefully this weekend we’ll be able to engage in some amount of indulgence for the grey and dignified Java God.

We’ve also come a bit of a distance as a family as well. Getting TO settled into another academic year comes with its own set of ups and downs and some amount of anxiety on our parts…chiefly mine. Apparenty when your kid becomes a fifth grader, everyone’s focus gets onto punting the child up to the next grade in middle school and the whole year ends up being a prep for the latter. Phew!

However, striking a balance is what we manage to hack for the most part so not too worried on that front. Being an Indian parent, it goes against the grain to *not* worry about your child’s academics or their potential areas of excellence. After all, what would we put up on our social networks if it weren’t for updates of the child taking newer and greater strides in some or the other field. Of course there are the endless selfies with the puckered up face that most of us instinctively seem to excel at.

Speaking of which, I have rediscovered Snapchat with a vengeance! The initial disdain at the airbrushed faces and the boughs of flowers over the head-filters has melted away and I quite enjoy looking at a smooooooth, blemish-free face and have realized that I wish my eyes were a nice irridescent color and not the browns that I’m destined to sport life long.snapchat-12868228883841078127944242142.jpg

TO on the other hand has gone so deep down the rabbit hole of cricket that I’m afraid he’s lost to the non-cricket loving junta. Luckily for him, he has a father with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and inclination to listen to his soliloquies on the subject instead of the mother who looks for a pile of cushions to dive under to stop the flow of words from battering her already battered mind.

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Before the all important toss!

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The rare photo where the V sign didn’t make an appearance.

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And the fake smile’s back!

Red as always is the buffer between the two excitable entities that live in this house. He stays calm and collected and only loses his shit during tennis and cricket matches.

So as we gear up for a season of festivities over the next two months, am just happy that all the important stuff is getting ticked off properly and we’re back to the mundane bit where I just have to drag a kid out of bed and boot his behind out of the house on a regular basis and phone the husband with the usual, “when are you going to be home?” spiel. Bliss.

Have a good weekend…Salut!

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Saturday Morning Conversations

I crashed by myself last night…was listening to music, sorting out playlists…everything you need head space for and which can’t always be done effectively with someone staring at you with googly eyes and asking, “what are you doing?” for the millionth time.

I avoided weird bedtime conversations but couldn’t avoid them during the next morning when someone decided to wake up and smell the roses with unbounded enthusiasm before his mother got caffeinated.

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Imagine having slept off to music spanning the decades along with conversations with friends on and off till the middle of the night and then waking up to the most #dafuq question one can imagine first thing in the morning viz, “How old do you think De Villiers is?” And on seeing my glazed, semi-blurry vision starting to go the angry, snorting bull way, TO preemptively turns his face skywards and says, “Why me?!!” Nothing quite like having your angsty moment stolen and impersonated by the person who brought it on in the first place.

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So on we went with the good morning kisses and inane questions till my brain cried out for coffee once more. Red being the coffee guy at home was hollered at and he promptly went and made some for HIMSELF and not me. There’s only a few things a woman can say to her husband at such times and I tell back on Barb#1 aka ‘ I gave you a kid, can’t you even get me a cup of coffee?’

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We are fond of our drama in this household. Be it me trying to bury myself under the covers so I don’t have to hear my kid drone on about some ODI post which Tendulkar decided to retire from cricket

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or trying to bargain for more screen time or me giving the evil eye to the placidly coffee-sipping spouse who’s going to need me to find his stuff for him soon; this is just how we roll.

Slainte!

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When Your Friends Are His Too…

Red doesn’t value my opinion in many things. Par for course since he’s a husband. But my choice in music (Hindi, loud and boisterous to some throat warbling that I’m ok to listen to), movies and books is where his skepticism is the highest. I can honestly say he reads stuff that’s lightyears away from being on my radar. He reads fiction, non-fiction both but it’s a bit cerebral for me. I’m more of the whodunnit, whytheydunnit and aretheygonnacatchwhodunnit– kinda person.

Now I have a friend who he gets along with quite well. She’s smart. She READS. And she doesn’t read fluff- some of the traits that have endeared her to him more than others of my circle. A few days ago I happened to see a book reco from this friend of mine and ordered it because it seemed like something Red would enjoy and I wouldn’t have to tax my fluff-lovin’ brain much either.

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I’d just told Red that I ordered a book for him and his eyes widened in alarm! I had to tell him who reco’d it and he started breathing normally again. Sheesh! You give a guy Beloved to read once and he holds it against you for life! And this from a guy who enthusiastically read about ‘electric sheep‘! Bleh.

 

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Knockout Day Conversation

So TO is a cricket buff. Am not. He has good hand-eye co-ordination. I don’t. He’s more like Red in this regard. Thank goodness.

This was our talk today- Me: ” Kane Williamson…ummm hmmm…hello there!”. TO: “He’s OLD Ayu!”. Me: ” He’s waaay younger than me baby!” TO: YOU. ARE. OLD. AYU”

After that bit of heartbreaking talk, I again made googly eyes at a clip of Kane Williamson Williamson practising prior to the match and TO piped up,” Eww…do you want to marry him?” Me: ” Can I marry him?” TO:” You should ask Prash (Red)”.

And that in a nutshell is enough of mother-son bonding for today.

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Red Reblogged

In order to write I need to read. Sometimes reading what’s passed through my head ages ago isn’t just hugely entertaining but quite enlightening. This one wasn’t enlightening in any way; caused major eye-rolls because things with Red are still status quo in some aspects of our lives.

Here goes:

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Red likes me to tell him Sardarji jokes.
I do it in my Punjju accent and put in plenty of “oye papeys” to punch things up.

A few days ago he told me via mournful sms that I hadn’t told him any Sard jokes of late.

To rectify the situation, I sent across a joke today that goes like this… A Sardar declares: I will never marry in my life and I’ll give the same advice to my children also! 

My Homer Simpson-loving husband mails back, baldly stating that one doesn’t need to be married to have children. Now, I know that and apparently so does Red…but who’s going to tell the poor Sardar? 

On the flip side, think of the facepalm moments of a person who lives with! a guy who tries to make sense of Sardarji jokes!

Oh teri!”

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Retroblogging

I occasionally got back and read stuff I’d blogged about earlier. Sometimes I can see an evolution in the style of writing and at other times it seems either pedantic or boring. But this one is relevant even today, hence the repost. It was written 8.5 years ago on a day when I seemed to have been rather prolific or just didn’t want to actively parent and just hide away in my beanbag and keep blogging.

I was worried that I’ll be fanning my ignorance quite a bit by forgoing the newspapers altogether but a quick glance at them has assured me am not really missing much.

It’s not quite so much as news as an announcement of the end being near. Take a look all around- honor killings up, scams are in they heyday, political parties are the jokers with the Indian Government providing the 3 ring circus. What does get the space in the papers are announcements of the Fresh Faces in the city colleges where self-proclaimed celebs go and shake a leg and lecture impressionable young’uns on personality and grooming. While their grooming and personality (or lack thereof) is highly suspect or airbrushed for the print media 🙂

I sometimes read my papers a day late since my son loves to paper our house and Red always takes off with the Sport pages first thing in the morning. While gathering the papers from last night’s yay-ness I came across a news feature of a German porn star who died after her 6th boob job went bust! Literally and please don’t excuse the pun. Hmm…that did grab my attention because the girl in question really was just a girl and 23 years old.

Hell at 23 if a person can generate that kind of income, why not live it up? What good would 800 gms boobs (each 800 gms mind you) do to a person except make them more susceptible to gravity a WHOLE lot more? And now she’s dead. Fatal beauty anyone?

This isn’t a homily on the evils of x,y,z. It’s been so long since I read the papers and found something genuinely informative. And felt up to date on the happenings around me.

It’s either the verbal skirmishes between the politicos in A.P that make the front page or the Naxals or the scams…and honestly all they make me think of is that people are inept. They do just enough to show that they have Johnsons and then they back off.
I get it, the machinery moves slowly. But for everything? The people who have the most influence and the potential to actually act seem to be mainly posturing and and everything is just for show.

Want to get something done, throw down and the gauntlet and see where that takes you and stand your ground! Things aren’t that stable anyhow whether it’s in the state or the central government. Or for that matter for most things.

The last few ‘newsworthy’ things I remember reading about my city and state either involve political fluctuations, political gripes, suicides, dogs mauling infants, slums, citizens grievances against the local governing bodies. And the list bloody keeps going on and on.

And it’s the same thing the next day. It’s a template of sorts if you will.

Small wonder then that I play escapist and read the comics, smirk at page 3 and get right back to my books.

Cynical but it works.